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News Release - Rebuilding Ceremony Marks Start of Construction of The Tower at Midtown at Midtown Rising Redevelopment Site

City of Rochester / State of New York

News Release

Tower at Midtown (Friday, May 23, 2014) - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the City of Rochester and Midtown Tower, LLC, a partnership of Buckingham Properties and Morgan Management, held a ceremonial plaque hanging ceremony for the Tower at Midtown in Rochester to mark the start of its construction.

The Tower, which involves the adaptive re-use of part of a former downtown mall building, will become a modern, mixed-use building with three floors of retail and office space, and 179 trendy, modern apartments. Construction of the 357,000 square foot structure, which has already been demolished down to its steel frame and concrete floor decks, is expected to be complete in 2015. The $59 million project is one of the centerpieces of the Midtown Rising redevelopment project and will create 29 new permanent jobs, retain 316 permanent jobs and create 200 construction jobs. A rendering of the completed structure can be found here.

“With the start of construction on The Tower at Midtown, we are seeing yet again how the Regional Councils are spurring economic activity at the local level,” Governor Cuomo said. “This project is an integral part of the revitalization of downtown Rochester – one that is transforming the area into a vibrant commercial, office, and residential hub – and I look forward to seeing its progress continue over the coming months.”

“The redevelopment of our Center City at Midtown Rising is breathing new life into the heart of Downtown,” said City of Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “Best of all, hundreds of jobs will be created and retained with The Tower at Midtown project and it is that investment in our people that will continue to push Rochester forward. Downtown Rochester is the focal point of our entire region, and we thank all of the partners who came together to get us to this point.”

“Momentum has been building for downtown Rochester, and The Tower’s groundbreaking marks a major milestone in its revival,” said Buckingham Properties CEO Larry Glazer. “We look forward to bringing the right mix of tenants downtown to propel this momentum forward.”

“The Tower at Midtown will play a vital part in achieving the goal for downtown Rochester to become a regional destination,” said Morgan Management Owner Robert Morgan. “The right combination of retail, office and residential at The Tower will complement and enhance the downtown Rochester experience.”

The $59 million project, which sits on a 1.6-acre parcel in the heart of downtown Rochester, is supported by up to $4 million from the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) and $1.2 million from the state’s Upstate Regional Blueprint Fund. The Tower is part of the larger redevelopment of the former Midtown Plaza, dubbed Midtown Rising, an overall plan by the City of Rochester to redevelop 8.6 acres of a multi-block site for residential and mixed-use. The entire site has undergone abatement of asbestos-containing materials and demolition of most of the structures, funded by a $55 million state appropriation and $17.6 million from the City of Rochester in acquisition, relocation, and predevelopment costs. The scale of the building renovation and the enormous capital investment rendered the need for additional assistance; RG&E is providing up to $500,000 for electric service infrastructure and the development is now underway.

The Tower at Midtown will offer three floors of retail and office space and underground parking with direct access into the building. Upper floors of the mixed-use building will be apartments that will be pet-friendly with a dog park and wash station. Floor plans feature plentiful common areas for social gatherings. The redevelopment project is a 50/50 joint venture of Buckingham Properties and Morgan Management.

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said, “The Tower at Midtown serves as a model for how government and the private sector can work together to revitalize our urban core, create good-paying jobs, and strengthen our economy. I want to thank Governor Cuomo, the City of Rochester, Buckingham Properties and Morgan Management for their shared commitment to our city and for their leadership on this important project.”

Senator Joe Robach said, “The Midtown Rising project is a great example of State and Local government working with private investors for the betterment of our community. This is an exciting time for Downtown Rochester, with the Midtown Rising development serving as the centerpiece for its revitalization. This project will create hundreds of jobs for our community, and will attract people to our city with its blend of retail, office space and residential apartments. Certainly we all remember the glory days of the Midtown Mall, this project will help bring that excitement back to Downtown Rochester.”

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, “ESD’s grant will be a major catalyst in fostering new investment in downtown Rochester. As private investment and the city’s tax base are increased, new economic markets will be revitalized and enhanced neighborhoods will flourish.”

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said, “Today’s groundbreaking of Midtown Rising represents a significant investment in downtown Rochester and a win-win for our entire community. A strong downtown is critical to the economic strength of our County as a whole and it is important that we continue to come together to create and retain jobs.”

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs, University at Rochester President Joel Seligman and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman said, “As a priority project of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, we recognize the redevelopment of the former Midtown Plaza as a transformative project not only for downtown Rochester but for the entire region. The Midtown Rising project is in full swing these days and momentum continues as the next piece, The Tower at Midtown, begins its construction phase. This project is key to downtown Rochester’s revitalization and will position the city for future growth.”

NYSEG and RG&E President & CEO Mark S. Lynch said, “This adaptive reuse of the Tower at Midtown will help forge our neighborhood - the Center City - into the cultural, economic, governmental and institutional anchor of the region. RG&E is a strong supporter of downtown Rochester and we will continue our efforts to help the City and the region grow and prosper. We’re proud to be a partner in this exciting project, which is another example of what RG&E’s economic development programs are all about.”

About Midtown Rising
Midtown Plaza was the first indoor urban mall in the nation. Built in 1962, the mall closed its doors permanently in 2009. Midtown had fallen into disrepair, with an 85 percent vacancy rate and was a blighting influence despite several failed revitalization plans proposed by the private sector. Recognizing a need for government intervention, the City of Rochester established an Urban Renewal District to encompass the site in 2007 and also proposed public acquisition of the Midtown properties. The City of Rochester took title to the Midtown Plaza properties in May 2008 through eminent domain and completed the acquisition of the last property within the Midtown superblock in September 2010. Midtown Plaza consisted of approximately 1.4 million square feet of vacant office and retail buildings covering 8.6 acres.

The Midtown Rising project involves the demolition of most of the Midtown buildings, the adaptive reuse of the former Seneca Building as the new Windstream office project, the adaptive reuse of the former Midtown Tower, the inclusion of new streets and open space and the creation of three additional development parcels. The total investment in the Midtown Rising project – including acquisition, relocation, demolition, infrastructure improvements, rehabilitation of the Midtown Parking Garage, the redevelopment of the Windstream offices building and the redevelopment of the Midtown Tower – is more than $184 million.

About Buckingham Properties and Morgan Management
Buckingham Properties owns and manages more than 60 properties comprising over 10.5 million square feet and has a successful history of re-development and adaptive re-use of existing properties. Morgan Management, based in Rochester, has extensive experience in the ownership and management of high quality, residential communities, owning and operating a residential and commercial real estate portfolio since 1976.

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News Media: For more information, contact Communications Director Christine Christopher at 428-7135.


 


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